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Hardball With Chris Matthews

News/Business. (2012) (CC)




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Chicago 14, Jack Welch 11, Romney 10, Obama 10, Lehrer 5, Joe Biden 4, Bls 4, Jack 3, Rick Santorum 2, George Bush 2, Michael Steele 2, Jim Lehrer 2, Michael 2, Duracell 2, Pbs 2, United States 2, Jared Bernstein 2, Biden 2, Mark Mckinnon 2, Jennifer Granholm 2,
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  MSNBC    Hardball With Chris Matthews    News/Business.  (2012)  (CC)  

    October 5, 2012
    4:00 - 5:00pm PDT  

always some conspiracy. they are an alternative universe. too bad that we have to live in the real world and have to deal with the real results of some of the policies that they enact. let's deal with reality and change it. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. 7.8 jobless number. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start with the good news on the unemployment front, getting the jobless number down to 7.8% a month before the election could be the upbeat news to give this president the kind of big-time bounce he needs.
since the campaign began, we've known the power of the unemployment figure. now we have the number itself. plus, the good news about the last two months, it's clear that the economy created more jobs than previously estimated. there are some people out there who don't like this number, don't like it at all, and leading the band is the legendary ceo of general electric, jack welch, who joins us right now. jack, you made a lot of news today. here is the tweet you put out this morning. unbelievable jobs numbers. these chicago guys will do anything. can't debate so change numbers. and i'm just wondering, i understand the way it works is the president gets a heads-up on the unemployment number 4:00 the day before and has to keep it to himself. you're saying in your tweet this morning that the news went the other way, that the people working for the president somehow got the bls, the bureau of labor statistics, and played with the numbers so it would come down below 8% today. how does it work from your perspective? what happened here?
>> well, chris, all i can talk about are some of the numbers. we had 600,000 government jobs added in the last two months. we had 873,000 jobs by a household survey, which is a total estimate from 50,000 phone calls. of those 600,000 were temporary workers. chris, these numbers are all a series of assumptions, tons of assumptions, and it just seems somewhat coincidental that the month before the election, the numbers go one tenth of a point below where they were when the president started, although i don't see anything in the economy that says these surges are true. the 873,000 jobs in the household survey is the strongest economy since 1983. i don't think you can find an economist, there were 25 of them this morning that predicted 8.1% to 8.2%, but they did predict 114,000 jobs. we got 114,000 jobs, and somehow the assumptions ended up at
7.8%. >> well, let me get back to your tweet this morning. it must be embarrassing for you to do a tweet now after the power you used to have. i mean, tweeting doesn't seem like something i'd hear from jack welch, and i mean it. here you put out the word, unbelievable jobs number, fair enough. these chicago guys will do anything so they changed the numbers. what evidence do you have that they got to the bls? >> i have no -- >> that the chicago guys got to the bureau of labor statistics and jimmied these numbers by 0.3%. >> i have no evidence to prove that. i just raise the question. >> you didn't raise the question. you said these chicago guys will do anything so they changed the number.
you were asserting here in your tweet that you put out at 8:35 this morning, five minutes after the report came out -- did you talk to any economists or anybody in the accounting world that understood how the numbers were put together before you accused the chicago guys of changing the numbers? >> chris, i know these numbers are gathered by a series of wild assumptions, maybe they weren't right at 8.5%, maybe they weren't right at 8.4%, but it seems coincidental that one month before the election they would end up at 7.8%. the president today is on the stump. the president always talked about his 7.8%. he didn't mention 600,000 jobs added in the government -- >> let's -- see, it's not your attitude about obama people care about, it's your analysis, and you came out this morning and asserted not a question mark or a question or concern about a coincidence. you say these chicago guys will do anything so they change the numbers. do you want to take that back? >> no, i don't want to take anything back. >> this is serious, there was jimmying with the numbers, corruption, infiltration or getting to -- it's not funny, jack.
you're talking about the president of the united states playing with the bureau of labor statistics number. this is nixon stuff. this is what nixon did back in the old days. >> chris, don't lose it now. >> i'm not losing it. look at my face. i'm not losing it. >> i can't see your face. >> do you want to take back the charge -- >> no, i don't want to take back one word in that tweet. >> so you assert as of now, 5:00 this afternoon, these chicago guys will do anything, they can't debate so they change numbers. >> i didn't say what they did. i said they'd do anything. >> and what did they do here? >> they've been calling mitt romney a liar, a falsehood, for the last 48 hours after the debate. >> okay. but you don't have any independent evidence. you didn't get any evidence between the time the numbers came out this morning at 8:30 and 8:35 when you tweeted. you didn't use that five minutes to gather any actual information or evidence -- >> no, but i tweeted last night, chris, tweeted last night that i predicted it would be at 7.9%. >> okay.
and why did you make that prediction? >> because i guessed that's what would happen a month before the election. >> so you guessed that the chicago guys would do this. >> well, i don't want to put words in the mouth of what i said last night, but that's what i did. >> well, this morning -- i just want -- let's not go over the tweet one more time. the question -- what started this today, and people with a lot less iq than you and certainly a lot less business sense like allen west and some of the real screwballs out there are following the band you're leading, and the band you put together today was that there's corruption here, that the chicago people, meaning the guys around president obama, got to the bls -- >> chris. >> -- and manipulated the numbers. >> chris, stop it now. i have reviewed 14 businesses this week from restaurants to rental cars to widgets. i have seen everybody with a third quarter equal to or weaker than first quarter. in order to get 873,000 new jobs, you would have to have a gdp going at 4% to 5%. the second quarter was downgraded from 1.7 to 1.3. the third quarter is the no
going to be very strong. it just defies the imagination to have a surge larger than any surge since 1983 a month before the election. i leave it to you to do all the analysis. >> i'm just going back because it seemed like you were doing that. let me go to keith hall. he was bush's guy, commissioner of the bls. he said to "the wall street journal" today following what you said, there's no way someone at the bureau of labor statistics could change any data from its surveys. these numbers are good. so why do you know more than him? do you really -- i think it gets back to the question of integrity. do you believe that the bls lacks integrity? that a president of the united states -- nixon said he could never get to them. he used to say there's an ethnic
problem, they were jewish people. he thought they were out to get him. now you say the president controls the bls. previous presidents say they couldn't get their hands into that place. >> you don't think it's coincidental we have the biggest surge since 1983 in the job surge? come on, chris. >> it's 0.3 of 1% shift this month. >> no, chris -- >> 0.3. it went from 8.1%. >> it was 8.1 to 7.8. it's a 6% improvement in employment in two months. chris, 6% improvement would require a gdp -- >> jack, all i want to know is when we write this down three weeks from now or four weeks from now when the election is over, i want to know what you meant. do you mean it's a coincidence or do you mean you have evidence that there was corruption -- >> i have no evidence of corruption, none whatsoever. >> so these chicago guys had nothing to do with the number coming out today. >> i don't know that. >> why did you say it? these chicago guys will do anything, change the numbers. you just said it in your tweet.
i'm careful when i tweet. i usually have somebody like my producer -- say read my tweet. did you really want to stand behind this tweet? >> i want to raise the question of these -- >> you did raise the question. >> chris, these numbers defy logic. they defy logic. we do not have a 4% to 5% booming economy with 873,000 people added. i mean, stop it, chris. on the face of it, we don't have this gdp. i love you, but you can't get there. >> i think you're a great, brilliant businessman. i wish you were in charge of my stock options these days because you made a lot of money for us here, but let me ask you this one more time. so that all the people out there of lesser intellect will stop marching in your band, jack welch thinks this is a coincidence. jack welch does not believe the boys in chicago changed the numbers? >> no, jack welch is raising the question for some good analyst to go look at. >> okay. good. you're raising the question. you certainly did that. jack welch, thank you for joining us at the very top of "hardball" tonight. >> thank you. >> with me not to fight with
jack but to have a different point of view is jared bernstein, former chief economist and economic adviser to vice president biden. you heard that discussion. i like jack. i'm fond of the guy. jack welch has raised the question, but it was obviously his business instinct and his attitude i think towards this president that came together at 8:35 and he tweeted out this, unbelievable jobs numbers. these chicago guys will do anything. can't debate so they change the numbers. i'll go back to what i heard ezra klein say in the room, that a 0.3 of 1% shift in the unemployment rate is not wild. it's very conceivable. your thoughts. >> that's absolutely true. i mean, what i just heard from jack welch was about -- with respect i guess was about ten minutes of absolute nonsense with no grounding in what the bureau of labor statistics actually does. now, he's absolutely right that a very large jobs number in the household survey is an outlier. it's unusual.
these things happen. that number has a large margin of error around it. the bureau of labor statistics is very public about that. >> but these are nonpoliticians though. these are absolute bureaucratic government servants. >> that's the point. it wasn't that jack welch was raising a question. it wasn't that there's an outlier in the data. he argued very clearly that the white house had a thumb on its scale, was entering a political bias into the print on the bls numbers. >> that's what he tweeted. >> that's what he tweeted. >> now he's come back and says he simply has questions. go ahead. >> that's an outrageous allegation, and it's an allegation that strikes at the heart of a statistical agency with a tremendous amount of integrity. i have worked at both the white house and the department of labor. the firewalls between them are extremely thick. the data processing, the analyses, the reporting are incredible rigorous and careful, and this is a number that moves
markets. for a guy like that who claims to be an experienced businessman to come out and shed -- >> he is an experienced businessman, so we have to go from there, but the question is was he angry this morning, was his political attitude more than any kind of economic analysis? i would argue right now listening to him right now, it's his attitude towards obama, and i think he's shocked that the number looks so good. he doesn't want it to look that good. this number is going to help the president. >> absolutely. so it's pure political. you shouldn't be then -- you're right, for an experienced business guy who people listen to and look to, to cast that kind of a ridiculous aspersion is actually quite damaging and shouldn't be done. let's talk about the number. >> how good is this news today? >> how good is it, did you say? >> yes. >> it's good news. it's not over the moon good news, but it's good news. i think you have to look at the payroll survey. there i think you see an acceleration of job growth, and, by the way, welch has a point. you should never take one monthly number. if there's a germ of something in there, you should never take
one monthly number. you should average. if you look at the past three months, payrolls have been growing about 150,000 per month compared to about 67,000 per month in the prior three months. so that's a bit of an acceleration. a little momentum on the unemployment rate. >> let's put it in historic terms. we cover elections, not economics generally, but ronald reagan was re-elected with a 7.2% because he said it was the morning in america. optimism was what he sold. he was able to say 7.2% is great news, great news. he got re-elected with 49 states. he lost minnesota and the district of columbia with 7.2%. what should obama get with 7.8%? it seems like it's within the range there and everybody is pooh-poohing it and, oh, geez. i know why jack welch is scared, that number is too damn close to reagan's number. >> i think how this works with the president's narrative is that we're moving in the right direction, don't change -- you know, don't change horses, don't go back to a playbook that demonstrably didn't work, the
george bush supply side stuff that he can legitimately tie to mitt romney. he had a narrative that said the economy is moving in the right direction, and i think this job report actually strengthens that narrative. and much more than levels of variables like the level of the employment rate, it's momentum that i think forms voters' views on the economy. >> i think it was interesting that jack let out that last night he tweeted, i didn't know this, he had tweeted 7.9% was his prediction. that is not exactly a wide deviation from what he thought it was going to be. i would just say this now, i have tremendous respect for the bls. >> thank you. >> i have known all my life it's independent. people like nixon couldn't get to it. you couldn't get to it. >> you can't get to it. >> i think for him to say that i think is bad. i hope he softens -- i think he began to soften it today. it's not an attack on the integrity of those people working there. >> it's just the integrity of the system, which is one that's just irreproachable when it comes to the quality and the integrity of the statistics. >> why would you work over there
for 30 or 40 years with pride and having a reputation for integrity so some joker could call you, quote, from chicago. give me a break, jack. >> i think someone who says what he said really should step back and think about that kind of a comment. >> my guess is he is. anyway, thank you, jared bernstein, for coming on to straighten some things up. coming up, who is that masked moderate man on the debate stage, the guy who plans no $5 trillion tax cut. if people want those tax cuts, they're looking for him. who won't cut education, who insists his health care plan covers people with pre-existing comment. the same guy who said his 47% comments were wrong. also, we're beginning to the learn more about the flawed strategy that led president obama to lay a debate egg wednesday night. best not happen again. we mentioned the unemployment number dropped
sharply. finally, let me finish with 7.8% jobless number, what it means, and why some people don't like looking at it. this is "hardball," the place for politics. >> after losing about 800,000 jobs a month when i took office, our businesses have now added 5.2 million new jobs over the past 2 1/2 years. this morning we found out that the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since i took office. more americans entered the workforce, more people are getting jobs. today's news certainly is not an excuse to try to talk down the economy to the score a few political points. it's a reminder that this country has come too far to the turn back now. we've made too much progress to return to the policies that
landed us in the crisis in the first place. online outfit piccolo headphones buy now broadway show megapixels place to sleep little roadster war and peace deep sea diving ninja app hipster glasses 5% cash back sign up to get 5% everywhere online through december. only from discover. and those well grounded. for what's around this corner... and the next. there's cash flow options from pnc. solutions to help businesses like yours accelerate receivables, manage payments, and help ensure access to credit. because we know how important cash flow is to reaching your goals. pnc bank. for the achiever in you.
it's not just jack welch out there questioning the unemployment numbers today which fell to 7.8%. here he is again, florida congressman allen west wrote on his facebook page, quote, somehow by manipulation of data we are all of a sudden below 8% unemployment a month from the presidential election. this is orwellian to say the least and representative of saul alinsky from the book "rules for radicals ,"a must-read for all who want to know how the left strategize. this is the guy who thought there were 80 communists in the u.s. congress. don't forget him. >> i believe there's about 78 to 81 members of the democratic party that are members of the communist party. >> he never forgets to say democrat party. we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] if it wasn't for a little thing called the computer,
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and i fought against long odds in a deep blue state, but i was a severely conservative republican governor. >> sounds dangerous. anyway, welcome back. that was mitt romney famously touting his conservative credentials calling him severely conservative. the right wing romney from the primary fight is no more. this week the etch-a-sketch came alive. the former governor championed centrist principles and got away with it. he keeps this act up. michael steele is a former chair of the rnc as well as an msnbc political analyst and cynthia tucker is a syndicated columnist. thank you. michael, there's on old
tradition in politics, you go to your fringe or hard left or hard right to win the primaries and caucuses, and then you start to move slowly so by labor day you're ready to confront the enemy at the center. he didn't do it like that. he stayed right all the way through the summer and maybe masterfully wednesday decided to go with i'm for the 100%. i'm for pre-existing condition coverage, for all this education, all this good stuff. >> i think part of that -- you're right in your analysis, that's exactly what happens politically. i think for the romney campaign they took that strategy, elongated it because they had some shoring up to do with their base. >> can he pull it off? can you make that kind of switcheroo in september? >> i think you can, number one. >> october. >> september/october. i think you can, number one. number two, we saw obama do the same thing, albeit earlier in the process. he was to hillary's left. he brought it around, started quoting reagan in the fall sounding very reaganesque.
this is what the politicians need to do because that's where the votes are. >> but your party has gotten so much domination by the tea party and the neo cons you almost have to sign on the dotted line. you have to sign down here no taxes. >> it doesn't matter what you sign -- >> it doesn't? >> at this stage of the game it doesn't matter. i'll tell you why. all those folks can vote for romney, and he still needs those conservative democrats -- >> i have a theory that the people hate obama so much on the right, cynthia, and perhaps center right, they hate him so much they want to have this guy go to the center as long as he wins. your thoughts? >> that's absolutely true, chris, because people like karl rove and billy crystal know that mitt romney is an empty suit, and they can push him around if he wins the presidency. you know that old saying if you stand for nothing, you won't stand for anything? well, romney doesn't stand for anything. he doesn't really have any values or principles that he really believes in except he really wants to be president. that's why we saw that new slick
version of the romney bot on wednesday night. this romney bot, they worked on him for hours in the factory making sure he had the right smile, making sure he seemed warm and sincere. well, who was that guy, michael? this is not a guy we had seen on the campaign trail for the last -- >> i can't even take any of this seriously. >> -- several months. >> i think, first off, the whole idea this guy is an empty suit, it's laughable to say that. he was the governor of a state, and he was very successful as a governor of a state. he was able to cobble together the coalition, something this president hasn't been able to do, quite frankly, to get his agenda done. >> why does he keep saying his -- excuse me. this one gets to me, and i don't like the word lie, but i think he's dealing in an untruth here. he did it the other night after being corrected by his staff when he did it on one of the sunday shows. he said his health care plan, such as it's going to be, will cover people who don't have coverage for a pre-existing condition and they try to buy a policy, and he keeps saying they
can go buy one and he'll make sure they can buy one legally, there will be such policies made available. immediately they come out and say it only covers people who have had continuous coverage who have been paying into their health insurance since they've been very young and not ill. same thing happened last time. he said it covers pre-existing conditions, and a staffer came out and said it doesn't. why does he keep saying something he knows his staffer will correct later? he wins the battle before the 70 million people. i know the game he's playing. plays to the biggest crowd with what he wants to say. >> why are you acting like you're so surprised? >> it is dishonest. >> it's not dishonest. >> it isn't? >> his plan, which is still evolving -- >> let's go to the big one. initially romney defended his
now infamous 47% remarks where he doesn't care about them because they don't care about him, but last night he was a striking a very much different tone. he offered up the answer he probably would have given, who knows, had the president mentioned that 47% during wednesday's debate. let's watch him. >> well, clearly in a campaign with hundreds, if not thousands, of speeches and question and answer sessions, now and then you're going to say something that doesn't come out right. in this case i said something that's just completely wrong, and i absolutely believe, however, that my life has shown that i care about 100%, and that's been demonstrated throughout my life, and this whole campaign is about the 100%. when i become president, it will be about helping the 100%. >> it was a highly analytical thing he said at the fund-raiser it boca raton. he said the 47% of the people are takers. they get benefits from the government, social security or they get disabled benefits or whatever and they are veterans benefits, they're not paying
income tax. that 47% are not taking responsibility for their lives as they should, and they're not going to vote for me. that's a big mouthful to say was a misstatement. what did he mean to say? >> well, i think what he meant to say, chris, was what he said in private. >> yeah. >> when he thought the cameras weren't rolling in private before wealthy donors. he said that the 47% were victims who were dependent on government, and that is why they voted for obama. and he didn't just stand by that remark then. when he was initially asked about it, he didn't say, oh, no, that was all wrong. he said, well, i may have stated it inelegantly, but i stand by the message. you know, michael said he was a successful governor of massachusetts for four years. most people agree that that's true, but he has spent the past two years repudiating every single thing he stood for when he was governor of massachusetts. so what values does mitt romney
really have? what does mitt romney really believe except that he very much wants to be president of the united states? >> you're thoughts on the 47 going to 100 overnight on sean hannity. nice place to bring it up, by the way. >> i was critical of the comment on the 47% because i think it was not presidential, quite honestly, and i think his team, certainly mitt romney himself, realized how that was being interpreted regardless of his ultimate meaning. i'm for the 100%. these guys and the president and mitt romney both have admitted they've been in that box where they say things in private that when get exposed puts them in an awkward position whether it's gods and guns in 2008 or the 47% today. i think right now what he's trying to do, and i think rather effectively, is to contextualize that comment -- >> how is that different than etch-a-sketch? it's like my words don't mean anything 24 hours later. >> how long have you been doing campaigns and politics? when you get to general
elections there's -- >> everything you say shouldn't be in disappearing ink. that's what it is, disappearing ink. >> it's not disappearing ink. >> i call it newt romney. michael steele, thank you. cindy tucker, have a nice weekend. we'll be enjoying that 7.8% unemployment rate. i'm sure you'll be celebrating it. thank you. by the way, they're talking about cutting for big bird. that's not going very well. wait until you hear what rick santorum wants to do with big bird. you can guess. this is "hardball." he wants to home school big bird, i guess. anyway, this is "hardball," the place for politics. ah.
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back to "hardball." now to the "sideshow." in wednesday's debate you saw romney pushing moderator jim lehrer around pretty much at
will. eventually president obama joined in. but here is a flashback of the romney/lehrer face-off from jimmy fallon. >> it's my priority to repeal obama -- >> okay, now, governor romney you are well over the two minute allotted -- >> jim, i still have 30 seconds here on -- >> if -- >> jim, jim -- just politely going to hush you up a bit. >> going to keep you. >> na, na, na. >> respect the governor -- >> jim, do us all a favor and just -- i think it's a little weird that you're here still. you can just leave and do whatever you want. >> no, i'm the moderator here. >> jim -- >> hold on now. i'm going to have to ask you to step down, okay? ja, ja, ja. >> that's just a noise. >> jim, jim, jim, would you shut the [ bleep ] up. >> that was a facsimile i think. more from the debate aftermath. the big bird nonsense continues. how did the former gop
candidates feel about the mitt romney pledge to stop funding for pbs if elected president? first, rick santorum last night on cnn. >> would you kill big bird? >> well, as a matter of fact, i voted to kill big bird in the past. it doesn't mean i don't like big bird. you can kill things and still like them. maybe to eat them, i don't know. >> you can kill things but still like them? very interesting. on to newt gingrich who went to one zoo after another during his presidential campaign. newt was on cnn last night with former michigan governor jennifer granholm, an active obama supporter, of course. let's take a look. >> newt gingrich, should big bird be killed or not? >> that's total baloney. big bird makes millions and millions of dollars annually. >> save big bird!
>> it's a commercially profitable show. i would save big bird by liberating big bird from the bureaucracy. >> jennifer granholm looks like she's still at the convention in charlotte. of course, he's a big bird fan. may look like he and granholm are on the same page, but newt still wants to do away with government support for pbs and other public programming. up next, debate strategy. we now know more about what president obama was trying to do in his lackluster debate wednesday night. that will be helpful to know. and one thing democrats and republicans can be sure of, it won't happen again. well, we can hope. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. gave it greater horsepower and best in class 38 mpg highway... advanced headlights... and zero gravity seats? yeah, that would be cool. ♪ introducing the completely reimagined nissan altima. it's our most innovative altima ever. nissan. innovation that excites. ♪ [ male announcer ] how do you make 70,000 trades a second... ♪
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dozens of flights were canceled due to repair. now back to "hardball." back to "hardball." finally we're getting some insight into the strategy each candidate and campaign brought to wednesday night's debate. and while it may not blunt the pain certainly that supporters still feel after the president's lackluster performance, at least david axelrod has an explanation of sorts. here is a clip from a post-debate conference call he did yesterday. here is axelrod, the president's communications expert, explaining his behavior wednesday night. let's listen. >> he made a choice last night to answer the questions that were asked and to talk to the american people about what we need to do to move forward and
not to get into serial fact checking with governor romney, which can be been exhausting, never-ending pursuit, but obviously moving forward, you know, we're going to take a hard look at this. >> you have to say something, i guess. joining me is democrat strategist steve mcmahon and republican strategist mark mckinnon. i'm going to start with you, mark, because i was impressed with mr. romney's way of presenting himself. he was like an actor who came on playing a bigger role than he normally does, like a big guy, "master and commander" russell crowe. he grew when he came on stage, and he stayed in character as if he wanted to do a couple more hours of it. so prepping him -- and i hadn't seen that mitt romney before. that guy has not been out there. what happened with him? how did he get so ready for that thing? >> i think he and the campaign totally understood what the stakes were, and they prepared and they prepared a lot. i have watched mitt romney over the years, and he has steadily
improved, and, you know, people like stuart stevens and beth myers took a lot of heat over the last couple months about the campaign, but those -- i have worked with stuart before in many campaigns, and he's a debate preparation fanatic, and they understood that this would be an opportunity to shift the gears, to reframe the race, and one guy showed up and one guy prepared, and it showed. it really did. you know, a lot of people were saying it's the best since reagan. reagan had some natural gifts and was an affable guy. i think in terms of preparation, this may be one of the best presidential debate performances ever. >> i agree. in a totally amoral, apolitical sense, i agree with you. steve, what do you think happened to obama? >> i think he prepared and showed up for a news conference, not a debate. he answered the questions -- >> but there weren't any questions. lehrer didn't see it as his role -- >> we can talk about lehrer separately. i think what they were trying to accomplish is their view was the mitt romney campaign wasn't
going very well, mitt romney wasn't doing a particularly good job, and they would play rope-a-dope and sort of run out the clock on the campaign. >> why didn't he come -- let's start with something that's not technical or tricky. usually when you know you're going to have an hour and a half before the american people, i can't imagine that, and you say you get 45 minutes of that hour and a half, you get about half the time, he got a little more than half, you have something to say. he didn't talk about the auto industry, he didn't talk about lilly ledbetter, he didn't talk about equal pay, didn't talk about the things he cared about. >> and he didn't talk about all the things the campaign has spent so much time and energy prosecuting over the past several months. he didn't talk about bain, how mitt romney made his money, didn't talk about the middle class as much in that context as i expected. he didn't talk about the 47%. i know when you're the president you want to be careful not to swing down, but -- >> how about just saying why you're president, why you wanted to be president, why you made the decisions you made, why you didn't want to have 40 million
people sitting in the emergency room. >> i think he tried to do that, but i don't think he did it as well as he would have liked, and certainly they're going to take a new approach next time. mitt romney just came to play. mark is right. >> an interesting thing, mark, back to that again, romney seemed to know it was free form. it was like a city basketball game. you know, winners get the ball. every time you make a good shot. it's not like in the nba where you have to turn the ball over. he knew if he kept shooting, he could keep hitting and control the ball, and the ref in this case, lehrer, tried to get the ball back and he would say, no, you can't have it, i want it. lehrer would say okay. how did he know it was going to be that free an opportunity to just hog the ball? >> he was like a guy in the fourth quarter that wants the ball.
he wants to play, and he wants to score. >> he got it. >> and i think that was from, again, watching those primary debates. you just saw over time how increasingly he would do that and he'd dominate and interject and he learned how to do that. that was a learned skill. he got his chops together and really learned how to do it and learned how to execute. >> both these guys know what they faced. obama knows he had a bad night. romney knows obama is coming in next time with a different approach. so that makes it a separate challenge and an additional challenge for obama. the other guy knows what he's going to do, he's going to be more aggressive. what does romney do next time to meet a more aggressive obama? mark? >> one thing, chris, i think that the obama campaign has kind of telegraphed their strategy by calling him the serial evader. i think they've already said that's going to be a strategy. >> is that healthy, to say you're going to prosecute or come in as a prosecutor? >> i think the romney campaign has a pretty good radar screen, and they have picked that up. i think they will have romney well-prepared for that. i also think it's going to be interesting with the town hall format because this is a very different kind of environment, and, you know, i think this is where romney is going to have to connect and feel people's pain, and so that's naturally something that obama does well. we'll see how well romney adapts to that environment. >> i'm hoping candy crowley gets more in there. she's much more political than jim lehrer. she'll say follow up on that, answer it. >> i think she will. she will be aware of all the critique of jim lehrer that's gone on. i think mark raises a very, very good point, as he so often does. the format for the next debate
is a format that favors somebody who is more comfortable with people and who is a little more easy. >> can you fake it? >> well, you know, i think this is a form that -- >> can you fake it? >> i think you can fake it a little bit but not very much. i'm not sure mitt romney is going to be able to fake it. i think the president that we saw in denver the day after the debate is the president that we're likely to see in the town hall meeting coming up next time, and you're going to see joe biden unleashed, i think, in the next debate. >> that's going to be fun. >> maybe the most interesting of all of them. >> tout that one this week. biden is twice his age. he's a lot more friendly. he's almost like a big, you know, a big st. bernard. he slobbers all over you, but he's very personable, and he's very hard to dislike. the other guy is a little colder version of humanity. >> this could be one of the best debates of the season and maybe
one of the best debates across the board. this is a classic -- a very different type of candidate. one is very affable, and one is very, you know, a nerdy sort of guy. i think it's going to be fascinating to watch this one, and i think it's going to be important, maybe more important than past vice presidential debates have been in the sense that if ryan does well, i think it's really going to substantially help that momentum that romney has established last week and will be very important, and so the stakes are very high on this one. >> you know what? that's another great point. after the 2004 debate when it looked like george bush hadn't had a very good evening, dick cheney actually stopped the momentum that the kerry campaign had in the vice presidential debate. and mark will remember that better than anybody. it's joe biden's job here to go in there and basically change
the story line and win that debate, and i think joe biden actually is a much better debater than most people understand. >> well, we'll see. great one to watch. by the way, god gave us all different weapons. like that old movie "spartacus." one guy had the net, the other had the knife. give him a little knife, a long net, give him the other thing. thank you, mark mckinnon, steve, too. tonight it's 10:00 eastern watch a special friday night campaign edition of "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. 10:00 eastern on msnbc, the place for politics. if we want to improve our schools... ...what should we invest in? maybe new buildings? what about updated equipment? they can help, but recent research shows... ...nothing transforms schools like investing in advanced teacher education. let's build a strong foundation. let's invest in our teachers so they can inspire our students. let's solve this. a great clean doesn't have to take longer. i'm done.
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a mitt romney campaign event in abingdon, virginia, today? yep, big bird himself. the obama campaign was happy to point out that a guy in a big bird suit was in attendance today carrying a sign that said, "crack down on wall street, not sesame street." pretty good stuff. we'll be right back.
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responsibility. what's your policy? we're back. the life of a senator can seem glamorous from the outside yet the daily grind paints a very different picture. while many americans struggle and even name their u.s. senators many more don't know what a senator does actually all day. our guest is the wife of new
jersey senator frank lautenberg and made it her mission to outline every member in her photography exhibit. with each portrait is an explanation of what each person man or woman sees as their greatest legislative achievement. this is fascinating. blanch lincoln is a former democratic senator from arkansas. let's talk about this. you had a chance. first of all i know because you are very sociable. you know a lot of these senators and spouses and you know them from a different perspective. i want to get the people who know that answer. this is how we're going to do this. tell us what they're really like and you can join in. what is happening is it has gotten really nasty on the hill. >> it has. >> people like olympia snow have left because they can't deal with their party. there are no across-the-aisle friendships like the old days. let's talk about ted kennedy and look at the picture you got of him. the great ted kennedy who is one of the great senators. tell me about ted as a person.
why he posed like that ahn what he saw as his greatest accomplishment. >> when i walked into his office there were photographs of his family, martin luther king, president kennedy, bobby kennedy, his family. and it was so emotional. he had a chair sitting in front of the couch. i knew he wanted to sit there but he said where would you like me to sit? i said sit right there because i wanted those photographs behind him. >> that sense of history up there. senator, you were up there. i'm told you knew that history was a lot nicer than the history you lived. those senators were once much friendlier with each other. >> absolutely. my predecessor was wonderful when i got here. he said i know you'll be great but i just wish you could know the senate i knew. he said, you know, i'm a more liberal democrat than you are but some of my best friends were republicans because we did things together. you know? back then their kids lived here. they went to football games together. they suffered through band concerts together. they barbecued on the weekends.
and not every weekend but, you know, they got to know each other as friends and the fact is when you're friends you may disagree on a lot of stuff but you respect one another and you respect your differences. >> let's start with the big names in the senate. hillary clinton. what was her greatest achievement? let's look at the picture you took of her. you had to fight through the staff to get near it. that is a gorgeous picture. >> thank you. >> great photography. she should really want to have that picture. >> i wanted to give it to her for her campaign. >> got a rough time traveling the world every three minutes but she'll look like that again when she gets out of office. your thoughts of her as a person and a public figure. >> she is very gracious and very brilliant and we're so lucky to have her. >> my feeling about hillary and i've been tough on her and i take it all back. i do it every week. politics is rough and journalism on politics is tough. i'm with her, when i'm with her
i fall for her. there is a claharm that doesn't come across on tv. >> well she is. she is brilliant. >> we know that. >> she does an incredible job. but she is also real. when i first got here in the house and then my husband and i married and i was expecting twins, you know, the president and secretary clinton invited us over for dinner. we went upstairs and had chicken in the residence quarters and she had on her shorts and a t-shirt and so did the president and, you know, chelsea came in from dance class. i mean, they are normal people and they know and understand what a normal life is. >> what is this, razorback night? shorts on and air conditioning? >> but i mean she is a real person and she knows and understands what real people go through. >> you both wanted to run for president? >> no. >> yes. >> oh, her. i thought you said us. no. >> you want her to run. >> no. i supported her when she did run, yes. >> joe biden is going to debate this week. how is he going to do? >> great.
>> thank you. good job. you got all these pictures up in jersey. bring it around the country and to the newseum. when we return, thank you. let me finish with the people questioning today's great jobless numbers down to 7.8 and some people can't stand it being that good. you're watching "hardball" the place for politics. ones buy now broadway show megapixels place to sleep little roadster war and peace deep sea diving ninja app hipster glasses 5% cash back sign up to get 5% everywhere online through december. only from discover.
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let me finish with this. let's look at this great jobless